Australian Test cricket captain Tim Paine has resigned from the job after an investigation was launched into sexual messages he reportedly sent to a co-worker.
“I’m announcing my decision to stand down as the captain of the Australian men’s Test team. It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket,” an emotional Paine said in a hastily arranged media conference this afternoon.
“Nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague. At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in.”
Paine, who has been skipper for more than three years since the sandpaper scandal of early 2018, stepped aside today after lewd messages he sent were revealed.
The texts were sent ahead of the Brisbane Test in 2017, to a woman who worked with Paine in the Tasmanian state setup.
She resigned from her role later that year ahead of an investigation into the incident, which cleared Paine of any wrongdoing in terms of the CA code of conduct.
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“Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today,” Paine said.
“On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community.
“I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party. I’m sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport.”
Pace bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins will likely take over as skipper, just days after being asked if he was ready to lead the team when Paine was under an injury cloud.
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Paine said he did not want to become an “unwelcome disruption” to the team ahead of the Ashes – but will remain in the side.
“I will remain a committed member of the Australian cricket team, and look forward with anticipation to what is a huge Ashes tour,” he said.
“Tim felt it was in the best interests of his family and Australian cricket to take this decision to step down as captain,” Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein said.
“The board has accepted Tim’s resignation and will now work through a process with the National Selection Panel of identifying and appointing a new captain.”
Freudenstein said that CA did “not condone this type of language or behaviour”, but had cleared Paine during an investigation.
“Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his distinguished service,” he said.